A committee of experts has sped up its activities to make Istanbul the European Capital of Culture in 2010.
Nuri Çolakoğlu, head of the executive committee of the coordination body set up for the project, said they hoped to prepare the necessary files to put forward Turkey's nomination before the end of this year.
Designed to "contribute to bringing the peoples of Europe together," the European City of Culture project was launched by the European Union, following the initiative of former Greek Culture Minister and actress Melina Mercouri in 1985.
In 2000, 13 nongovernmental organizations started work to nominate Turkey to the project and in 2003, Turkey officially sent a letter of intent to the European Commission. Turkey's initiative, supported by the Prime Ministry, gained momentum in March of this year after talks in Brussels with EU officials.
Çolakoğlu, speaking at a meeting at the Istanbul Modern Art Museum to inform the public of Turkey's nomination, along with a German town and Budapest, said a number of projects have to be launched and some parts of Istanbul have to be restored to make Istanbul the European Capital of Culture in 2010. The EU has started to choose a city from candidate states along with one from its current members.
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